How long does it take to sell a house?
Selling a property can often take longer than you expect. Our figures show that it currently takes an average of 5-7 months to sell a house.
There are many different factors that will dictate how long it takes to sell a property. In this guide we will explore how long each stage of the property selling process takes and how you can ensure your house sale is as smooth and hassle-free as possible.
In this guide
How long does it take to sell a house in the UK?
It currently takes an average of 208 days to sell a house in the UK, from putting the property on the market to the sale completing. It can take longer if there are significant hold-ups or if your sale is part of a property chain.
Accepting an offer
Newly listed properties currently accept an offer in an average of 115 days. However, how quickly you receive and accept an offer on your property will be affected by a number of different elements. These include asking price, condition, market saturation and location. Typical time on market varies widely depending on what region your property is in.
Offer to completion
Once you have accepted an offer, the conveyancing process – the legal process of selling a property – is often quoted as taking around 2-3 months. Recent figures suggest that it currently takes an average of 93 days from accepting an offer to sale completion. That is assuming the sale completes. Sadly, around one-in-three property sales will fall through before completion and the homeowner will be forced to start the entire process all over again.
How many viewings does it take to sell a house?
It’s difficult to predict how many viewings it will take to secure a sale. Some homeowners will accept an offer after just a few viewings, whilst others have lots of viewings and fail to attract an offer.
It currently takes an average of 16 viewings to sell a property. If you’ve had more than 16 viewings without any offers, it may be time to review your marketing strategy and asking price with your estate agent.
How many viewings should you expect in the first week?
The first week is crucial in the process of selling your property. Your home is likely to attract the most attention when it is new to the market, so you want to ensure you get a good number of viewings in the first week. How many viewings constitute a ‘good’ number will depend on how many buyers there are in the area at the time. If the market is slow, 2 viewings may be considered a good first week. If there is high demand for property in the local area, you may find you have 5 or more viewings booked for the first weekend.
How do I get more viewings for my property?
If you want to get more viewings for your property, pricing is key. Any property will sell if it’s priced competitively, so it’s important to get the asking price right from the start.
You also need to ensure your property is advertised where would-be buyers are looking. That means having it listed on all the major property portal websites, alongside the estate agent’s own website. Your estate agent should also be proactively approaching buyers on their books about your property.
Lastly, you need to make sure your property listing shows your home at its best. Good quality photography, an accurate floorplan and a well written description will all help to attract prospective buyers.
What can speed up a house sale?
Making sure the property is well-presented and ready for sale
When you decide to sell a property, it is important that you ensure it is well-presented and ready to be viewed. Make sure you finish any DIY jobs you’ve been putting off, declutter, refresh any tired paintwork and ensure your property exterior is looking its best.
It is also important that you only advertise the property when it is fully available for viewings and ensure you are flexible in accommodating requested viewings.
Choosing the right estate agent
Choosing the right estate agent is key to a quick and smooth house sale. A proactive agent will carefully vet prospective buyers, gain thorough feedback from viewings, negotiate a good offer, and help to manage your sale through to completion.
It is important to get valuations from a number of different estate agents. This will help you get a realistic idea of how much your property might be worth. You should also ask for examples of similar properties they have sold recently.
Pricing it attractively
If you are looking for a quick house sale, it is important that you price your property attractively. The busiest time for marketing should be in the first two weeks of the property being marketed. If there is little or no activity in these opening weeks, you may need to revise the price accordingly to attract viewings.
Ensuring you’re ready to move
Making sure you have everything in place ready to sell will help to speed up your sale. Ensure you have any paperwork relevant to the property readily available and have a solicitor lined up. This will allow you to begin the conveyancing process as soon as you accept an offer.
Why does it take so long to sell a house?
There are several elements of a property transaction that make it a long, drawn-out process.
These typically take 2-8 weeks, but may take longer if you choose to undertake additional, options searches.
Mortgage application process
You can expect this to take 2-6 weeks. It may take longer if your personal circumstances are complicated (eg. you’re self-employed) or if the valuer/surveyor used by your mortgage lender has limited availability.
Drafting legal contracts
Gathering information about the property and going back and forth between solicitors to iron out the finer details of the property sale will take several weeks.
What can hold up a house sale?
Being stuck in a property chain is a common cause of house sale hold up. The more links in the property chain, the longer the sale is likely to take and more vulnerable each sale is to falling through. Each year, around a third of property sales fall through before completion. If one sale in your property chain falls through, it’s likely to hold up the entire chain for a considerable amount of time and potentially jeopardise your sale completely.
Selling a leasehold property tends to take longer than selling a freehold property. This is because the lease aspect of the sale creates extra work for your solicitor to process before the sale can complete
If the property survey brings up anything that requires additional investigation, you can expect it to cause considerable delay to the completion of your sale.
Similarly, down-valuation by your buyer’s mortgage lender will also significantly delay the sale and possibly threaten the sale altogether. For this reason, it’s important to price your property realistically. If your property is down-valued, you will either need to renegotiate the purchase price with your buyer, or your buyer will need to source alternative finance.
Slow progression with solicitors
How well your solicitor communicates with others in the sale process will impact how quickly your sale completes. It’s important that you keep in regular contact with your solicitor and ensure they are proactively progressing your property sale.
What are your options if you need a quicker house sale?
If you need a quick sale or find you’re struggling to find a buyer, you may want to consider other options. Property auctions and cash home buying companies both offer a quicker alternative to the open market.
Property auctions are often particularly suited to more unusual properties or those that would be difficult to mortgage. Once the property auction takes place, sales must be completed within 28 days. This is significantly quicker than the conveyancing process on the open market. It is worth noting, however, that around 28 percent of properties that go to auction do not sell. If your property does not sell at auction, you will still be liable for some of the fees. This may include the marketing fee and property listing costs.
A sale to a genuine cash home buyer is quicker and more certain than selling on the open market. You should be able to complete your property sale on a date of your choice. This could be in as little as 7 days if required. A cash home buying company will pay less than market value, but is a great option for those who need speed and certainty.
Find out more about:
- How long does it take to sell a house?
- Should I use spray foam insulation in my home?
- Freehold vs leasehold – what’s the difference?
- Buying a house with subsidence
- What are disbursements when buying a house?
- Buying a house – everything you need to know
- What not to fix when selling a house
- Can I sell my home and rent it back?
- Selling a buy-to-let property in 2023
- Selling a UK property from abroad